Man wanted for swindling Fridley homeowner has reportedly run similar scam before

February 22, 2019 06:19 PM

Police in Fridley are looking for a man investigators say took off with more than $3,000 after promising to repave a homeowner’s driveway this summer.

Joshua Demitro, 28, was charged with theft by swindle this week in Anoka County in connection to the June 2018 incident. Authorities said his whereabouts are unknown, and there is an active warrant out for his arrest.

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Court records show this is the second time Demitro has been charged with running the same swindle.

In 2015, the board of directors at the American Legion in Willmar hired Demitro to do paving work after seeing his services advertised on a flyer.

“They looked like average construction workers,” said Roger Malikowski, who serves as chairman of the board. “(Demitro) had dirty shoes, tar on his shoes. It looked so legit, but it wasn’t.”

Malikowski told investigators Demitro never showed up on the day the work was supposed to start. The phone number associated with his business went unanswered and was eventually disconnected, according to the criminal complaint.

Court records show Demitro asked for a down payment from the American Legion of more than $2,800. Malikowski said looking back, that should have been a red flag.

“It’s a lesson learned,” Malikowski said.

When asked if he was surprised that authorities suspect Demitro of a similar swindle in Fridley, the board chairman said he wasn’t.

“I can’t believe he did it, but not at all surprised,” Malikowski said.

Fridley police said Demitro and an accomplice are now wanted for theft by swindle. Court documents in the latest case reveal a homeowner paid a $3,500 down payment to Demitro in June to have a driveway repaved.

Investigators said the homeowner reported him to police when the check was cashed but the work wasn’t started.

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Kirsten Swanson

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